The first Five Guys opened in 1986 in Arlington, Virginia. But fast-forward more than three decades, and the eatery has exploded onto the fast food scene. You can find almost 1,500 franchises across the world, and the company has hundreds more in development. And they’ve done it with delicious food – and a few secrets up their sleeves. Want to know 20 of them? Read on.
20. You can order a patty melt
Five Guys is famous for its meat-centric fare, but it’s not all hot dogs and hamburgers. They can also fry up a mean grilled cheese! One of the restaurant’s workers estimated in a Reddit post that 10 percent of guests order the gooey sandwich. They also revealed a few secrets regarding this menu item.
You can, of course, order the grilled cheese as is, but the Five Guys’ employee revealed that you can have any burger topping added to it. That means you can have a hamburger patty popped in the middle of the cheesy slices – and then you have a patty melt, coming right up.
19. It was actually founded by six guys
Jerry Murrell’s two eldest sons, Jim and Matt, told their father that they didn’t want to pursue a collegiate degree, and he supported their decision. So the trio put the money meant for their tuition into a new venture. They opened a burger-and-fries takeout joint in Arlington, Virginia.
As Murrell told Inc. magazine, it was an easy decision to name the eatery. When he looked at his family. He explained, “I had four sons – Matt, Jim, Chad … and Ben. So I said, ‘How about Five Guys?’” But then he and his wife, Janie, welcomed another boy named Tyler, at which point the restaurateur said the place was named after his quintet of sons, and not him. Still, technically, the Murrell family has six guys, not five.
18. Cooks use a signature, secret cooking method
You don’t franchise nearly 1,500 restaurants without having good food on the menu. So since the beginning, the Murrells have followed Jerry and Janie’s instructions on how to make burgers. Firstly, they hand-formed each and every burger, and they used a secret grilling method, too.
A former Five Guys staffer revealed this information through a 2018 Reddit thread. They said that the eateries’ chefs receive training to ensure they grill burger patties without pressing down on them. This means that the beef can retain its natural juices and texture, which is why the burgers are so good.
17. You can order something called the Artery Annihilator
The customizability of the Five Guys menu means you can add as many free toppings to your burger as you like. Options range from pickles, grilled mushrooms and relish to jalapeño peppers, A1 sauce and hot sauce. But people have gotten even more creative with their orders – adding extra meats and cheeses to build some seriously stunning meals.
One Five Guys’ employee shared their invention via Reddit, and they called the order the Artery Annihilator – sounds delicious already, right? You can’t just ask for it by its name, as it’s not on the menu. Instead, the Redditor explained, you have to “order a bacon cheeseburger and ask to have a hot dog cut in half and put on top.”
16. Don’t settle for plain fries
The normal fries are delicious at Five Guys – and that was Murrell’s goal from the beginning. The chain uses only freshly cut potatoes, which it then fries in peanut oil. And, while they’re good on their own, you can spruce up your starchy order by asking the staff to make you cheese fries.
The Five Guys staff will put your fries into a foil container, then melt slices of cheese on top. If you want something even more exciting, then ask for them to be served loaded nacho style. With that, your fries will come slathered in cheese, bacon and jalapeño for a kick. You have to pay extra for the cheese and bacon, but it’s worth it if you’re in the mood for a basket of extra-indulgent fries.
15. You can hack an In-N-Out burger
West Coast natives and transplants know the magic that of In-N-Out burgers. Unfortunately, though, the fast food joint only operates out of states on that side of the country: California, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Oregon and Arizona, as of 2018. But you can still get your fix, so long as there’s a Five Guys in your neighborhood.
Because Thrillist came up with a way to hack the Five Guys menu in order to build an In-N-Out Double Double. You’ll have to order a cheeseburger with the following toppings: grilled onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato and extra cheese. Then, you’ll have to grab a trio of to-go cups of relish, mayo and ketchup. Mix all three together, pour them over your burger, and you’ve got the closest thing to an In-N-Out burger in your neck of the woods.
14. Five Guys chefs don’t use timers
If you’ve ever made a new recipe at home, you know how fine of a science it is to get everything right. So you chop and measure ingredients, set the oven or stove to the perfect temperature, and you set your timers to make sure it’s all cooked – but not burned.
But you wouldn’t have to do any of that if you worked at Five Guys. Because the chefs there are so well trained that they can cook without using timers at all. They just look out for the color changes in the beef as it heats up. And the same goes for fries – the spud spears start to float in the oil when they’re ready to eat.
13. Five Guys follows a very specific recipe for making fries
You don’t get a perfectly crispy, Boardwalk-style fry by accident. Instead, the Five Guys team follows a meticulous preparation method to ensure their fries have a satisfying crunch. After the team hand-slices the potatoes, they dip them into three to four sinks full of water.
Because doing so washes away the starch from the outside of the potatoes. By the time they plunge into the final sink, the water stays clear. Then the Five Guys team will pre-cook the fries for two minutes, leave them to cool for up to two hours, then fry them again for the perfect amount of crunch.
12. They know they’re giving you an excessive amount of fries
If you’ve ever ordered a small serving of Five Guys fries, you know the portioning is laughable at best. They typically put a tiny carton into the bottom of a bag, then proceed to dump a massive amount of fries on top. As such, you can easily share the small portion with at least one other person.
It turns out that the people at your local Five Guys aren’t just being generous – they’re taught to go overboard with the fries, according to one employee. They shared via Reddit that training covers this overload, suggesting that the massive portions make customers think they’re getting a deal. But actually the price for your fries at any size has this extra scoop of starch factored in. Clever!
11. The secret menu contains a Chicago-style hot dog
Chicagoans take their hot dogs seriously – and that’s precisely why the bun-buttressed delight has become one of the city’s signature foods. Those who make it do so in a very particular order: yellow mustard first, then green relish, chopped onions, two tomato slices, a pickle slice, a pair of sport peppers and a finishing sprinkle of celery salt.
The Five Guys team might not follow that exact order, but you can get their Breaking Windy City Dog to replicate the flavors of Chicago’s famous fare. You’ll have to order the hot dog and add relish, tomatoes, pickle, green peppers and hot sauce, plus Cajun seasoning on the side to sprinkle on top. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good stand-in ‘til you can make it to Illinois for the real thing.
10. Choosing the mayonnaise was an undertaking
Five Guys takes the flavor and freshness of its food seriously. If you’re not yet convinced, here’s another anecdote that shows that: the team reportedly sampled a whopping 16 different varieties of mayonnaise before deciding on the one they’d serve in their restaurants.
According to Reader’s Digest, the Five Guys team went through “intense deliberation” to select their mayo, a personalized blend from Heinz. All of their restaurants serve this variety and none others, which creates consistency across the franchises. So no matter where you get your Five Guys, it’ll always taste the same.
9. Five Guys has stringent standards for potatoes, too
Not just any old potato can become a basket of Five Guys’ fries. As the company revealed in an April 2012 Facebook post, “Most of our potatoes come from Idaho and are grown north of the 42nd parallel” of the equator. Then it shared why its staff were so strict in selecting spuds from this region only.
The post explained, “They grow during the day when it’s warm and stop at night when the temp cools. This creates denser higher quality potatoes, which cost a bit more than their southern counterparts, but make better fries.” And in buying so many spuds from Idaho, the burger chain is responsible for five percent of all the state’s spud sales.
8. They have some wacky topping options, too
You already know the toppings on offer at Five Guys, which include the traditional fixings and sauces. If you want more meat, you can get that, too, although you have to pay for additional patties. But that’s not all you can have put on your burger or going into other Five Guys fare.
For example, some customers have successfully requested a layer of peanut butter on their burgers. Others have had bacon blended into their milkshakes. According to the Manchester Evening News, the latter is a particularly popular selection among Five Guys regulars.
7. Extra cheese and bacon are free
You get a heaping of fries, no matter which size you order. Plus you can load up your burger or hot dog with 15 free toppings. As if that’s not enough, you can order extra cheese and bacon for no additional cost – and that’d usually incur an additional fee at other restaurants.
The trick is ordering either a cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger. Then, you can add extra cheese or bacon at no additional fee. To further fine-tune the flavor of your flame-grilled fare, know that you can have any of your toppings grilled before they stack on top of your patty or hot dog.
6. Recreate childhood dinners with a Five Guys Sloppy Joe
You probably remember eating Sloppy Joes as a kid, the tasty combination of ground beef and tomato sauce scooped into a hamburger bun. If you haven’t had one in a while, it might be time to make the adult version with the help of your local Five Guys’ staff.
Order a burger and add ketchup and barbecue sauce, as well as grilled onions and grilled peppers. The combination tastes just like the childhood classic, but that’s not the only good news. Because it’s in burger form, your Five Guys Sloppy Joe won’t be messy to eat, either.
5. Make it a (somewhat) healthy bowl
According to Insider, an Instagram fitness blogger came up with a way to make dining at Five Guys into a healthy venture. But it’s not as easy as skipping out on the fries or bacon-filled milkshakes. You have to order your burger sans bun, which means the staff will pop it into a to-go container.
You can have any topping piled on top of your patty, although the inventive fitness blogger who came up with the bowl ordered it with some savory toppings. They go for a pair of bacon-and-cheese-covered burgers, as well as pickles, grilled onions, green peppers, mustard and mayo.
4. You won’t find a Five Guys with a freezer
The Five Guys website states that the restaurants don’t use freezers, foregoing defrosted fare in favor of refrigerated fresh ingredients. To make this work, staffers have to become experts at ordering produce and meat for each location. The right-sized delivery ensures there’s neither waste nor ingredient shortages at the end of the day.
The Five Guys staff takes extra care when ordering produce and meat, and they do the same with their bread deliveries, too. They follow strict rules for storing buns and loaves when they arrive. Namely, they can’t stack more than ten carb-filled boxes in a single pile.
3. They have a specific stacking method
Building a Five Guys burger comes down to a science. Chefs will slather sauces on both the top and bottom bun, but everything else has a specific position. For example, they’ll only put mushrooms, bacon, green peppers, jalapeños and grilled onions on the bottom half of the bun.
And Five Guys chefs save the top bun for lettuce, onions, pickles, tomatoes and relish. The patty goes over the bottom bun’s toppings, and then they hold onto the tomatoes – with gloves – to flip the top half onto the meat. Everything is then neatly folded into foil, which holds everything together for your first big bite.
2. The secret menu isn’t universal
We’ve covered quite a few secret menu items on this list. Some of them even have names. As such, you might think you can walk into a Five Guys and ask for the Artery Annihilator or the Presidential Burger. But staff have warned against doing so – because a lot of them don’t know the secret menu items by heart.
As one Five Guys employee explained via Reddit, “We can’t pull out our phones on the line and look up secret menu items.” That doesn’t mean you can’t order them. You just have to learn everything that goes on the special burger, hot dog or grilled cheese that you read about. Then, order it customized with the correct toppings – no weird nomenclature required.
1. The peanuts are there for a reason
It wouldn’t be a trip to Five Guys without picking up some of the complimentary peanuts to munch on while you wait for your food. You might take the free snack as a nice gesture from the restaurant, but one employee has revealed why they actually serve the legumes to customers.
Supposedly, Five Guys puts out peanuts as a snack so you’ll shell and eat them – and not pay attention to the workers preparing the food. Why they don’t want you watching is unclear. However, with this information in mind, one thing’s for sure: you should avoid Five Guys if you have a peanut allergy, since everyone around you will be shelling and eating them.